Shakespeare, William

Image - William Shakespeare Image - Various editions of William Shakespeare's plays in Panteleimon Kulish's Ukrainian translation. Image - William Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra in Panteleimon Kulish's Ukrainian translation. Image - The coronation scene in Les Kurbas production of Macbeth in Berezil (1924). Image - Poster for Les Kurbas' Kyidramte production of Shakespeare's Macbeth in August 1920 in Bila Tserkva.

Shakespeare, William, baptized 26 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, d 3 May 1616 in Stratford. (Portrait: William Shakespeare.) His works were first translated into Ukrainian by Panteleimon Kulish and Mykhailo Starytsky. Other translators of Shakespeare's plays include Ivan Franko, Yurii Fedkovych, Pavlo Hrabovsky, Yaroslav Hordynsky, Maksym Rylsky, Ivan Kocherha, Yurii Klen, Leonid Hrebinka, Les Taniuk, and Yuri Andrukhovych. Among the more outstanding translations are Teodosii Osmachka's rendering of Macbeth and Henry IV, Iryna Steshenko's Othello, Hryhorii Kochur's Hamlet, Mykola Lukash's Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Mykola Bazhan's The Tempest. Emigré writers who have translated Shakespeare's works include Vasyl Barka, Maksym Slavinsky, Ihor Kostetsky, Sviatoslav Hordynsky, Ostap Tarnavsky, Yar Slavutych, and Oleh Zuievsky.

The first staging of a Shakespeare play in Ukraine was Les Kurbas's production of Macbeth by Kyidramte in 1920, in which Kurbas both directed the play and played the lead role. Othello was first staged in 1923 by the Ukrainska Besida Theater in Lviv under the direction of Oleksander Zaharov, who also played the title role. It was staged again in 1925–6 in Dnipropetrovsk, directed by Panas Saksahansky, with the lead role played by Borys Romanytsky. The Ukrainian premiere of Hamlet was staged in Lviv in 1943, directed by Yosyp Hirniak with Volodymyr Blavatsky in the title role. It was subsequently staged in 1956 in Kharkiv with Yaroslav Helias in the title role. Marian Krushelnytsky played the role of King Lear in a production of King Lear staged in Kyiv in 1959. Of all his plays Shakespeare's comedies Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Much Ado About Nothing have become most popular in Ukraine and are staged most often.

In addition to individual editions of Shakespeare's plays, the following collections of his selected works in Ukrainian translation have been published: Vybrani tvory (Selected Works, 2 vols, 1950, 1952), Tvory (Works, 3 vols, 1964, 1969), and the complete Tvory (Works, 6 vols, 1983–6). His sonnets were translated and published as a complete collection by Ihor Kostetsky in 1958 and by Dmytro Palamarchuk in 1964. The most notable Ukrainian studies of Shakespeare’s legacy were written by Ihor Kostetsky and include his German-language book Einige Fragen der Shakespeare-Übersetzung in slawische Sprachen (1964).

Ivan Koshelivets

[This article was updated in 2009.]


Image - A scene from Les Kurbas production of Shakespeares Macbeth in the Berezil theater (1924). Image - Ivan Marianenko and Liubov Hakkebush in Les Kurbas' production of Macbeth in Berezil (1924). Image - Ivan Marianenko and Liubov Hakkebush in Les Kurbas production of Macbeth in Berezil (1924). Image - Amvrosii Buchma as the Fool (Porter) in Les Kurbas production of Macbeth in Berezil (1924). Image - The first complete translation of Shakespeares sonnets into Ukrainian by Ihor Kostetsky (1958).


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